Grim (JPN)
Lunatic House


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (121 Reviews)
August 30th, 2019 | 23 replies


Release Date: 08/25/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: That damned, infernal machine known as Grim.

Japanese musician Konagaya Jun proved in 1986 that Grim was to be a strong voice in bridging the gap between the depravity of European power electronics and the intense texture of japanoise with Folk Music. This wholly unique and sometimes-emotionally-rotten-always-frightening approach to noise made the full-length a standout in a sea of Japanese contemporaries, yet the project was prevented from reaching full-out cult status akin to Merzbow/The Gerogerigegege due to a lengthy hiatus from ‘87 to 2009, with only one compilation being released between then. Fast forward to this (almost over) decade where the work of Konagaya is going strong with a small subset of dedicated fans.

Lunatic House, the project’s most recent record, is not an ever roaring beast. Much like Folk Music before it, Grim, which now is assisted by session and live musicians, diversifies its sound as to create thoughtful and interesting dynamics. The intense, palpable highs of “Hand of Brute” and “Agave” contrast well with the field recordings featured on the beginning of “Voodoo Road” and the noisy build-ups of “Tarantula” and “Venomoon.” Build-ups are very important to Lunatic House, as every crushing bit of distorted chaos feels earned, such as the evolution of a song like “Voodoo Road” or “Luna,” whole songs are dedicated to constructing a certain foreboding atmosphere with industrial samples and shrill synths. From the deeply unnerving nature of “Tarantula” to the uneasy brightness of “Halation,” the closer, it’s hard to say whether or not this album is at it’s best when abrasive and torturing or when it’s on the sinister come-up or come-down.

But, in reality, it’s the textured psychosis featured in the meat of “Voodoo Road” that Grim listeners signed up for. The in-betweens are masterfully executed, sure, but they’re there to aid the main event. The overwhelming, crunchy, pulverizing noise that sounds like a mix between an industrial park and an insane person armed with a malfunctioning computer, a distortion pedal, and an apparent disregard for convention is in full force here. It’s not the most inventive record in this wheelhouse (Folk Music is a lot stronger in the innovations department) but Lunatic House stands out as a must listen for contemporary noise. Much of the corrupted, rotten feel of Konagaya’s soundscapes is memorable; that vibe sticks in the back of your mind long after “Halation” ceases ringing against the eardrums.

The beauty of anti-music/noise/power electronics/what-have-you is it’s surreal way of portraying the depths of fear and juxtaposing it against the post-industrial-revolution sounds of thumping, crushing machines and feedback. Lunatic House is no exception to this generalization, this Grim record definitely uses that man versus machine aesthetic to create an emotional battle between cold automation and human imperfections. Grim separates itself from the pack through Konagaya’s influences spanning over quite a few different avant-garde scenes, as well as the paranormal vibe portrayed by the harsh tones. Especially in Lunatic House, the machine sounds haunted - like a ghost is being incessantly tortured by loud clangs, clashes, and feedback loops. Each mechanical whir is the threshold between a screaming soul and a lifeless factory. Maybe I’m projecting my own theories onto a blank canvas, but that’s the beauty of an artform as fluid as noise - it’s a cacophonous void waiting to be filled with interpretations of its own horror. Good noise should do two things: tear flesh and beg for humanity through the language of machines.

Lunatic House does both.



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user ratings (6)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


2895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

stream: https://steinklangindustries.bandcamp.com/album/grim-lunatic-house-aug-2019

gonna do something ive wanted to do for a while and try reviewing/listening to more noise

how is everyone :3

Digging: Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb

Gyromania
August 30th 2019


28301 Comments


"The beauty of anti-music/noise/power electronics/what-have-you is it’s surreal way of portraying the depths of fear and juxtaposing it against the post-industrial-revolution sounds of thumping, crushing machines and feedback."

well said. good review.

I might give this a go. always down for some noisy stuff

Cygnatti
August 30th 2019


32877 Comments


pos

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


10117 Comments


"Said center-stage overwhelming, crunchy, pulverizing noise that sounds like a mix between an industrial park and an insane person armed with a malfunctioning computer, a distortion pedal, and an apparent disregard for convention."

This is an incomplete sentence as it stands; probably needs to begin differently.

There were also some instances where a semicolon would function instead of a comma, i. e. "... Konagaya’s soundscapes is memorable, that vibe sticks in the back of your mind..." - a semicolon after 'memorable'

But yeah, as Gyro mentioned, lot of great descriptors here. Your love for noise really helps strengthen this analysis and puts it in an engaging perspective.

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


2895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will fix, thank you :3

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


16105 Comments


"bridging the gap between the depravity of European power electronics and the intense texture of japanoise with Folk Music"

Hold the phone, I need to hear this. Super dope review as usual, love how succinctly you get your points across

Digging: 3776 - Saijiki

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2019


3503 Comments


very noice

ian b
September 4th 2019


471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

extremely well written review man, this surely isn't my typical jam but i def gotta check this out after reading your descriptions of it. great work as always bloon

Digging: Lil Peep and Lil Tracy - Castles II

butt.
September 4th 2019


4761 Comments


sounds really interesting, gonna give this a go

DadKungFu
September 4th 2019


676 Comments


Folk Music was a hellish experience. I feel like imma love this, gonna enter the study music rotation this semester.

butt.
September 4th 2019


4761 Comments


first track starts
ears already hurt

YakNips
September 4th 2019


19860 Comments


bloon likes PE? he kinda quirky doe

YakNips
September 5th 2019


19860 Comments


ok

Dedes
September 5th 2019


6649 Comments


I think you're the only person who could ever make me wanna check obscure power electronics. Mind pos.

BallsToTheWall
September 5th 2019


49739 Comments


This sounds great.

Digging: Fuming Mouth - The Grand Descent

blueviral37
September 5th 2019


1 Comments


Test!

combustion07
September 5th 2019


6554 Comments


Sounds like some good stuff. Nice review

FrozenVain
September 6th 2019


3031 Comments


Folk Music is classic. Must check.

ReefaJones
September 6th 2019


75 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

what absolute garbage is this?

Havey
September 6th 2019


10253 Comments


^surprised it took this long for one of these people to show up

Digging: Joris De Laet - SEM etc.



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